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September 18, 2011    SubscribeUnsubscribe.

Bulletin #130: Report from Washington, in Santa Fe on Wednesday evening:

NNSA sailing straight into fiscal hurricane while spreading more sail than ever; fate of Los Alamos production complex uncertain amidst overall folly

See also the urgent request from the Peaceful Skies Coalition, below, asking for your attendance at a "Community Meeting" to be held by the Air Force in Santa Fe, Thursday evening, regarding planned low-level training flights over much of New Mexico.


Dear friends and colleagues --

We would like to invite you to a briefing (with slides) and discussion regarding the current status of nuclear weapons issues in Congress, especially as they relate to the giant plutonium complex proposed for Los Alamos, on Wednesday evening, September 21, at the Cloud Cliff Bakery in Santa Fe, 1805 Second St., from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.   Cloud Cliff's fine artisan bread, and tea, will be served.

Study Group Director Greg Mello, who was in Washington for meetings last week with key congressional staff and analysts, will provide a half-hour briefing with most of the evening available for Q&A and general discussion.  Other Study Group directors will also be present.  We will not provide unpublished views traceable to specific organizations or individuals. 

We will provide a short legal update also. 

Among the decisions to be made in the coming weeks in Congress, the White House, and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is whether to begin construction on the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research and Replacement Nuclear Facility (CMRR-NF). 

No one yet knows how the Budget Control Act of 2011, with its mandatory but unknown cuts to unknown government programs, and the increasing willingness of Congress to trim defense budgets, will affect NNSA's future funding.  

NNSA has belatedly revealed plans (pdf) to build dozens of additional nuclear weapons facilities, including: another new factory at Los Alamos; a long-planned but heretofore unrevealed (except to us, apparently) new cruise missile warhead (pits for which would be built in the CMRR-anchored TA-55 complex); and other ambitious plans, all of which will require even more increases in spending in the 2022-2031 decade than even those proposed for the coming one.  In all, over $180 billion in nuclear warhead spending is now proposed for those two decades. 

As we have learned (and more on this on Wednesday), this $180 billion figure is being offered by NNSA in constant, i.e. discounted, dollars, (pdf) which would seem to open the door for further nominal increases each and every year, even beyond those in this plan.  Dream on! 

Obama's free-range NNSA has now truly proposed the biggest increase in warhead spending since the Manhattan Project, a two-decade future run-up in U.S. commitment to nuclear weapons -- just as the U.S. economy and society are beginning to truly unravel, with more and more of our population, and especially the rising generation of teenagers and young adults, being thrown under the bus.  

There is considerable skepticism in Washington that all this money (to be matched by even vaster sums for building and operating nuclear strike submarines, bombers, and missiles) will ever be available, or that all these facilities, submarines, warheads, etc. will ever be built.  Specifically, key parties are increasingly certain that CMRR-NF and a comparably-expensive facility in Tennessee (the Uranium Processing Facility, UPF) cannot be built simultaneously.  For its part, NNSA apparently thinks there will always be more money available to bail out its boondoggles if (when) necessary, so the more new program starts there are, the better.  Because of these and other factors, some government analysts are now predicting broad systemic failure in the U.S. nuclear weapons program. 

Given this, you might think that responsible adults, of whatever political persuasion, might hold back one of the two giant proposed new factories, which together may officially cost up to $12 billion.  (Some government analysts think the true figure is much higher.)  Yes, says the House, hold back CMRR-NF.  No, say Senate appropriators, let's rush in and start both of them, at least for now, and save the hard decisions for later -- after 2012

For New Mexico, whose economy is far more dependent on non-military federal programs than on military ones, the decision of our congressional delegation to support the nuclear labs and especially CMRR-NF, is truly heartbreaking.  Those political priorities (the labs and the people of New Mexico) are, as they have always been, largely mutually exclusive.  If the coming budget cuts do not make that clear, nothing will. 

Small update: efforts by Rep. Martin Heinrich and his Republican colleague Rep. Michael Turner on the Strategic Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee to increase NNSA's short-term budget at the expense of non-NNSA programs during what is hoped will be a 6-week period this fall have failed.  NNSA's budgets are now subject to the same 1.5% cut as the rest of government until November 18 (pdf) or until Congress passes a relevant appropriations bill. 

That's it for now, much more on Wednesday.  Please come if you can.

Sincerely,
 
Greg, Trish, and Willem, for the whole Los Alamos Study Group


From the Peaceful Skies Coalition

PLEASE HELP - Distribute Widely

Dear friends in Santa Fe, 

The Peaceful Skies Coalition has learned - with very short notice - that Cannon Air Force Base is holding a "Community" Meeting in Santa Fe this Thursday, September 22 from 6 - 9 PM at Santa Fe Community College, Jemez Room. Peaceful Skies Coalition is a group of activists from Colorado and New Mexico who have united to stop the proposed Low Altitude Training and Navigation (LATN) airspace takeover of northern NM and Colorado.  www.peacefulskies.org

The Coalition is hoping, urging, that many people in Santa Fe will attend the Thursday meeting. The Air Force has slammed us with these meetings, with only days to get out the word so we need a lot of help. 

Comments to this terrible plan are due to Cannon by November 5, 2011. We need thousands of comments making two key points:

1. Opposition to this Cannon LATN

2. Demanding a full Environmental Impact Statement before it goes forward. 

If Cannon's plan goes through, they will fly 688 low altitude flights a year practicing refueling and special ops mapping, tracking and targeting over our homes and the headwaters of all the rivers that nourish the arid Southwest. 

The Osprey flights alone cost $11,000 an hour.This is why the government is cutting schools, healthcare and income security. The military is taking all of the national treasure to waste on endless war and practice for war. What they are practicing is terrifying civilian populations around the world with this tremendously expanding, indiscriminate US warfare method.

More information and talking points are available at www.peacefulskies.org

If you want to be added to the Peaceful Skies Coalition email list, please contact our list coordinator at peacefulskies@taosnet.com

Attached is a flyer from our meeting last night in Taos with some talking points and the information on where to send comments. Also a map that shows all the airspace and military flight routes in northern NM and southern CO. This is an effort by the military to create a giant military expansion which I have named Southern Rockystan. 

Thank you,

Carol Miller

LATN map


 


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